Re: [hreg] US effort to combat global warming
- Thanks Polly. I regret that I had but one vote to cast for Ralph Nader.----- Original Message -----From: Polly LedvinaSent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 8:25 PMSubject: [hreg] US effort to combat global warmingAt the risk of chasing off more subscribers (or encouraging more dialogue) please consider the following:Soon after President Bush came into office, he broke his campaign promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from US power plants. Two weeks
later, he rejected US participation in the Kyoto Protocol. At that time, however, he promised the US would take it's own steps to combat global warming and formed a Cabinet-level group to study the problem and to develop a set of climate-related policies. Today, we got a look at that plan.
The plan proposes to reduce the "emissions intensity" of the economy - that is, the tons of carbon and other greenhouse gases released per million dollars of GDP - by 18 percent over the next ten years. This is meaningless because, in fact, it's almost exactly the amount by which greenhouse gas "intensity" fell between 1990 and 2000, as a result of ongoing capital stock turnover and structural shifts in the economy. Based on the President's own projections of future economic growth, emissions would increase by 14 percent over the next ten years, which is precisely the rate at which they grew during the last ten years. The only way emissions would be reduced from current levels under this kind of plan is if the US suffered a sustained recession -- a situation that is neither desirable nor likely.
The Administration's use of "intensity" rather than absolute values is a deception - a useful way to appear to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions while doing nothing. The Plan defines "intensity" as tons C emitted per million dollars of GDP (tons C / M$ GDP). If emissions growth (the top number) is a fraction of GDP growth (the bottom number) then this number "intensity" will always decrease with time, even though emissions are still increasing. This "intensity" approach is a smoke and mirrors attempt to confuse the public into believing that the administration is acting on greenhouse gas emissions while in fact offering nothing more than "business as usual".Perhaps the biggest farce is that all of the proposed emissions cuts are voluntary. The President has proposed tax credits to encourage companies to cut emissions, but there is nothing binding.
This proposal is very different from requiring an absolute reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas as the Kyoto Protocol requires other industrialized countries to do. President Bush's climate plan is not consistent with his once-touted goal of stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. As a leader of the industrialized world we may hold our heads up high knowing that we have totally shirked our responsibility.
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